Samsung SF310 13.3in notebook
Review Aimed at the fashion conscious, the Samsung SF310 adopts curves and chrome to attract trendies to this 13.3in notebook. Literally, built along similar lines to the NF210 netbook reviewed recently, if the look and feel isn’t quite enough to have you shopping around and spending about £750 on this Core i5 machine, Samsung is chucking in a 60 quid a Microsoft HD webcam into the bargain, until the end of January 2011.
Throwing a curve: Samsung's SF310
It’s an unashamed Windows Live Essentials promo, a software suite which has been dogging my use of this laptop – with prompts to instal this ‘important’ and bloated update – since the SF310 established an Internet connection. Less essential is the camera itself, as the SF310 has a perfectly capable built-in webcam of its own, albeit far from 720p HD.
The styling seems reminiscent of a classic breed of American car, with chrome trim adorning every edge and the white exterior of this review model, in stark contrast to the dark ‘dashboard’ that appears when you open it up. The white on black letters of the chiclet keyboard are certainly easy to read, with the chrome theme continuing on the buttons above for volume, Wi-Fi 802.11n/Bluetooth 3.0 activation and power. Even the trackpad gets framed in chrome and you either like it, or not.
You’d have to be a particularly heavy-handed typist to suggest the keyboard suffers any flexing, and in use, the keys offer a decent level of resistance and travel. The arrow keys, along with the page up/down keys and the like, that line up around the right corner are marginally smaller than the Qwerty set, with the function keys smaller still. The only real problem here was hitting the page keys instead of Enter by mistake. Increased familiarity with the layout eventually trains you out of these habits though.
One thing I couldn’t get the hang of was the trackpad. This one-piece multitouch affair has mere lines drawn on it to define the left and right buttons. The experience was toe-curling, as my thumb could easily stray over the boundaries when click dragging and send the cursor off in odd directions. Having done my best to restrain myself from doing serious damage to the SF310 – this wayward cursor business was seriously frustrating – one possible cause of this frequent problem dawned on me.
Elegant, but practical..? The all-in-one trackpad has a will of its own
I am left handed. The trackpad is off-centre with less room on the left side than the right. Given the limited space afforded to my left hand, it tends to move over the trackpad too much to the right and cross those fine lines that determine the cursor’s behaviour. So I gave the SF310 to a right hander to play with, but she couldn’t get on with the trackpad either. So what’s the deal here?
Next page: Under the thumb
"Get a mouse" is right. Been there, seen it, done it and I have the T-shirt.
As for which side you plug it in, try getting an MS Wireless mouse 3000 or equivalent with a USB micro-transceiver. You can leave this plugged in all the time and it doesn't matter where the USB port is. One AAA battery seems to last the thick end of forever.
My reason for this was getting right, royally hacked off with my sleeve brushing the trackpad while typing and changing the focus on the screen. That one seems to be a problem on every laptop I have tried. Add a mouse and check the option for "no trackpad when mouse found" in the trackpad driver and all is well.
Off-centre touchpads are an abomination that really infuriate me every time I have to use them. Common on bigger laptops with numeric keypads to the side of the main keyboard, I suppose the idea is that the touchpad lies centrally beneath the main keyboard... but it's a retarded idea.
The problem is that if you're typing away on the main keyboard, you're not using the touchpad. When you do want to use the touchpad, your hands will almost certainly naturally fall to the middle of the laptop along the bottom edge, NOT the middle of the main keyboard (which might as well not exist for the time you're using the touchpad.)
Between this and the use of a single strip instead of two buttons, it's enough to have me ready to take a sledgehammer to the things...
the number of games available for mac as a percentage of games available for Windows is a rounding error.
And this thing's a whole lot cheaper than a MacBook Pro.
I'd be much happier buying onto Optimus if linux was publicly supported.
nVidia under the hood thank you Samsung...and a note to nVidia....
The use of nVidia is a great thing to see. Good for Samsung.
Not sure about this hybrid Optimus tech yet though. Most buy nVidia to NOT have Intel graphics.
Note to nVidia, Linux drivers are needed. I see a backlash coming if none are ever provided for this Optimus tech due to the probability that a large number of manufactures will use Optimus in note books. There are more users of Linux than ever and this tech shuts them out of using nVida on notebooks entirely. Not a good thing.